Times change, and so should your kits.
After nearly 20 years in practice, I still have to remind myself to review the basics. For example, am I still giving our puppy and kitten owners the most essential, up-to-date resources, or have I let those education kits age and go stale?
When was the last time you looked inside your new puppy and kitten folders? If it's been awhile, crack one open and see if you're making the most of this educational opportunity.
Choose the folder. The main consideration for your folder may be the size of the side pockets, which will hold all of the handouts, reference sheets, and booklets. Beyond that, the folders can be fairly simple. Fancy folders with professionally printed covers cost a couple dollars each. Simple folders with a logo sticker can cost as little as 50 cents. Vendors often give out nice folders that we can spruce up with our hospital logo or label. Just make they're functional and look professional.
Dig inside. Over time, these folders can fill up with garbage, leaving clients with information overload. Give them too much to read and they won't read anything. So choose handouts carefully, and include a few education-rich sources for the new pet parent. (Find dozens of free handouts at dvm360.com/forms.)
Ensure consistency. Develop a list of items so all staff members know precisely what to include. For example, I include a new puppy/kitten booklet from one of our vendors (almost all the heartworm manufacturers offer them for free). This booklet contains most of the information your client needs. Supplement the booklet with a brochure on vaccines, and use the one from the vaccine line you carry. Include a brochure outlining your recommendations for flea and heartworm preventives (but not one for each brand on the market). Also include a brief handout on housetraining, the benefits of spaying and neutering, and a list of training, boarding, and grooming businesses you endorse. Lastly, include your practice's contact information and website.
Puppy/kitten folders are easy to forget, but they can be an important resource for your clients and a great marketing tool for your practice. Keeping them up to date is worth the effort.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board Member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group in Michigan.